Lawmakers: Foreign deal review may need to be updated

Sixteen members of Congress signed on to a letter on Thursday arguing that a government review board should more closely examine the purchase by Chinese companies of American tech and telecom firms.

The lawmakers want the Government Accountability Office to examine the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States when look at transactions where a foreign company is buying an American communications firm.

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They want the GAO to ask “whether [the process’] statutory and administrative authorities have effectively kept pace with the growing scope of foreign acquisition in strategically important sectors in the U.S."

They specifically cited concerns about the communications sector.

“Several recent examples of concerns involve the telecommunications, media and agriculture sector, which raise questions of the degree to which foreign ownership — especially from Chinese companies designated as ‘state champions that often benefit from illegal subsidies designed to gain strategic access to markets lil the U.S. — may pose a strategic rather than over national security threat,” the lawmakers said.

They added that some examples of transactions “raise serious security questions about what authority CFIUS currently has, or may need to be added, to address these concerns."

The letter was released by a group that opposes the purchase of Carmike Cinemas by AMC, which is owned by a Chinese company. That deal, worth more than a billion dollars, was announced earlier this year.

They also oppose the expansion of Chinese ownership of radio stations in the U.S.